BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana had 3.4 million licensed drivers in 2015, and it’s estimated that by 2030, vehicle travel in Louisiana will increase by another 20 percent, according to a national transportation research group called TRIP.

Coupled with these statistics is the SafeMotorist study, which claims that a total of 12,610 injuries and 218 murders have been attributed to road rage over a seven-year period in the U.S.

Considering the near-daily bumper-to-bumper traffic that Baton Rouge drivers have to deal with on weekdays, it may be helpful to consider suggestions related to easing traffic-induced stress.

After all, the less anxiety a driver feels, the less likely they’ll be to engage in an act of road rage when accidents or other stressors occur.

The following tips may be helpful in alleviating traffic-induced anxiety:

How to Deal with Traffic Stress

  1. Get enough sleep– As simple as this sounds, it’s true that not getting enough sleep can lead to irritability and anger while driving. So, be sure to get the amount of Z’s you need to stay calm and at peace while on the road.
  2. Leave earlier than necessary– Being late is typically incredibly aggravating, especially when you find yourself stuck in traffic. And it’s no surprise that an aggravated driver can become an aggressive driver who succumbs to road rage. 
  3. Listen to something relaxing– According to Psychology Today, music can have a tremendous impact on thinking patterns. The journal says that “relaxing music triggers a slower heart rate, slower breathing, and lower blood pressure.” In other words, it can soothe the annoyed driver into a calmer state of mind.
  4. Breathe deeply – When a moment of anger flares up as you’re behind the wheel, it can be beneficial to take a second and practice deep breathing. Just breathe in through your nose and let your belly fill with air, then slowly release it through your nose. Repeating this three times is likely to leave you feeling more relaxed.
  5. Remember that the best drivers avoid a ‘me-first’ attitude – Instead of making your journey all about you, remember everyone on the road has somewhere to be and is doing their best to arrive there safely. Keeping this in mind will help you to implement best driving practices such as maintaining an appropriate distance between you and other cars, resisting the temptation to abruptly cut another vehicle off without putting on a turn signal, and sticking to other driving behaviors that keep road conditions safe. 

In spite of the capital area’s heavy traffic, it is possible to enjoy a safe and relatively stress-free commute.